Live from Stratford: It’s Christopher Walken

Christopher Walken as Hamlet on stage at the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford in 1982. The actor will return to Stratford on Feb. 17 and tickets to his appearance are on sale and will benefit the theater.

Academy Award winning actor Christopher Walken will talk about his life and career in A Conversation with Christopher Walken on Feb. 17 at noon at the Scottish Rite Theater in Stratford.

According to Stratford Center for the Arts (SCA) communications director Mark Graham, Walken’s appearance will mark the second in a series of American Shakespeare Theatre Alumni Talks scheduled to benefit the Shakespeare Theatre, the Stratford Arts Commission and the SCA.

“ Ed Asner, was our first alumnus to return to Stratford. He was a dynamic advocate for saving the theatre,” said Ed Goodrich of The Stratford Arts Commission. “Mr. Asner really kick-started our plans for restoring the Stratford Center for the Arts at The American Shakespeare Theatre. We are pleased that an actor of Mr. Walken’s stature has agreed to be the second speaker in our Alumni Talk series.”

Frank Rizzo, theater writer for The Hartford Courant and Variety and contributor to TV’s Fox/Ct will conduct the on-stage interview and Q & A with Mr. Walken about his 40 plus year television, film and stage career.

According to an SCA release, Walken has appeared in over 100 television and film productions. He is the winner of The Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in The Deer Hunter. In 2002, he received SAG and National Society of Film Critics Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Catch Me if You Can.

His films have grossed over $1.8 billion dollars. They include Annie Hall, Pulp Fiction, Sleepy Hollow, Batman Returns and The Wedding Crashers.

His most recent film is Seven Psychopaths written and directed by Martin McDonough whose play, A Behanding in Spokane, Walken appeared in on Broadway in 2010. Mr. Walken received a Tony nomination for his performance in that play.

He costars with Alan Arkin and Robert DeNiro in his newest film Stand Up Guys.

Walken, who resides in Wilton, played Hamlet at the American Shakespeare Theatre in a 1982 production directed by Peter Coe that included Hollywood and stage luminaries Anne Baxter, Chris Sarandon and Fred Gwynne.

He made his Broadway stage debut as a chorus dancer in 1964. Mr. Walken alternated working in films and appearing onstage at Lincoln Center and in regional theater productions. He appeared in many of the great Shakespearean roles – Macbeth, Romeo, Bassanio, Coriolanus, Iago and Mark Antony. In the 1982 season at The American Shakespeare Theatre he also appeared in Henry IV, Part 1 as Henry Percy and Hotspur.

His television work began in the early 50′s during the golden age of television when he worked as a child actor. In recent years he has appeared seven times as host on Saturday Night Live. He is such a popular SNL host that a Best of Christopher Walken, SNL DVD was issued.

“We are so honored to host Oscar winner Christopher Walken in Stratford as part of our Alumni Series. As we move forward to achieve occupancy and provide future programming, Mr. Walken’s appearance will play a major role in building awareness and fund raising.” said SCA Executive Director Matt Catalano. “We are grateful for his time.”

Larry Ciccarelli, Chairman of the SCA board commented, “The Alumni Talks series will benefit capital redevelopment of The American Shakespeare Theatre. We are currently embarking on phase one of a five-phase plan to restore the theatre. This critical first phase addresses safety and occupancy issues that will allow us to begin utilizing the facility for programs and events. We are thrilled to have Christopher Walken supporting our cause.”

A Conversation with Christopher Walken will be held on Sunday, Feb. 17 at noon at The Scottish Rite Theater (formerly The Stratford Movie Theater) on 2422 Main Street near the train station in Stratford Center. Seating is general admission at $25. Limited VIP seating is available at $50. Tickets may be reserved by calling 203-572-8177. Tickets may also be purchased at the Devan News & Variety in Stratford Center and Hanna’s Kitchen on Paradise Green in Stratford.

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